I knew something big and unexpected had to be up, with Brody getting out of the CIA's assassination cross-hairs so early in the episode, and the story moving slowly along to two funeral services, one for Nazir, the other for the US VP whom Nazir assassinated through Brody as the only way to keep Carrie alive. I knew something had to happen, when Carrie and Brody were so lovey-dovey and even flirting with spending a life together.
But, whew, I didn't expect that bomb to blow up the CIA and any complacency we might have had about knowing where the series was headed. In retrospect, the bomb blast was perfectly parallel to our struggle with international terrorism in the real world. We killed bin Laden in reality. We killed Nazir in Homeland. The two were each buried at sea in respectful ceremonies. But their organizations survive to mete out considerable damages in both reality and fiction.
The destruction of the CIA was much worse than anything al Qaeda has done on US soil since 9/11. But the point is made on both Homeland and our reality: the taking out of one leader, however dominant and charismatic, is no assured path to a safer world.
Otherwise, Estes is gone in the blast, and that's just as well - I didn't like his character. I hope Quinn comes back - he showed courage and clear thinking in not taking Brody out when he easily could.
And Brody ... once again, as always, we're left, or at least I'm left, with a sliver or more of suspicion about him. I'm pretty sure he didn't set the bomb in his car. But not completely sure. Why not? Well, what was that strange expression on his face when he and Carrie were talking, and she asked him what was wrong, before he noted that his car had been moved? He says to Carrie that's just him looking happy about their future, but he didn't exactly look too happy, did he ...
And so, next season will begin with another question, loyalties in flux, and the US still in danger - the makings of a great television show, if not our real world, but that's the way fiction should be.
See also Homeland on Showtime ... Homeland 1.8: Surprises ... Homeland Concludes First Season: Exceptional